Allowed to Mother

Quite frankly, I don’t even have the ability to focus enough to know what to write about. I’ve just returned from being on the road traveling with my husband for the last 3 weeks. It’s been glorious and strenuous at the same time. The sites we’ve seen, the things we’ve done, the food… oh the food… the hotel rooms, the people: It’s a bit of a blur, albeit a glorious blur.

The writer in me wants to create a succinct article about travel and discovery that could be useful to readers. But there are many kinds of writers in me, I suppose. This is the nature of writers, to openly admit we have split personalities. (You’d think we’d keep that bit of information in the closet, but no, we hang that dirty laundry right on the clothes line for all to see.)

One of the writers in me wants to wax poetic about the beauty of each individual vista we’ve seen. Another inner-penner, wants to tap on the keys to tell about the food because I love restaurants and food so darn much it’s ridiculous. Yet a different variety of prose seeks escape to describe hotels and customer service dos and don’ts I’ve observed.

The angry writer in me wants to scold humanity because I’ve seen such ugliness. Animals and children being ignored or frightened; rudeness; rule breaking; slovenliness; selfishness. I want to put on visors and only see the wind in the leaves of the palm trees, the sunsets sparkling on the rippling waters of the ocean, and the designs the incoming tides leave in the sand. But I can’t shake my finger at anyone because I’m a lowly human, too, subject to anger and fear and my own need to survive. But again… that’s just one writer in me focusing on one area of observation I’ve come upon during these travels.

What I’ll choose to share is something I wrote in the second week of our trip. We met our daughter in San Diego and had several wonderful days of discovery and fun, but the last day brought the mother out in me; a part of my being that’s been shushed for the last ten years or so. I had one opportunity to nurture and care for my daughter like I did when she was little because she fell ill. Here’s what I wrote that day.

Where to start is at this moment, I suppose. At this moment, I’m worrying about my daughter, something I don’t get the opportunity to do anymore as she’s a 30-year-old, competent adult who lives nine hours away from me in St. Louis, Missouri and travels the country and even the world: she’s just returned from a visit to China. She’s far more capable than I am, yet this morning she woke up feeling poorly—a sore throat, tummy ache, and general body aches.

I immediately went into mommy-mode. I wish I could pick her up and cuddle her, but even as a baby, she didn’t much enjoy any kind of smooching or squishing from me. She’s always been one needing to control her environment and be free of restraints. Her most common utterance as a small child was, “I will do it by my own self!” usually yelled… at me.

She’s always known exactly what she wanted and settled for nothing less. I’ve tried to respect it, but it’s been a journey of me wanting to mother her and her cringing at my outstretched hands. I’m Pepe Le Pew and she’s the poor cat just trying to get out of my grasp.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t have wanted her to be clingy or needy. I like strong, independent people, and can’t stand whiners or indecision. I enjoy and respect people who are leaders and survivors, probably because I am that person… right up until I’m sick, at which point I become a ball of whining needfulness. It isn’t pretty. But we were talking about my daughter, weren’t we? She’s feely “puny” today. (A word my friend uses.) Or I could say, she’s feeling “punk”. (A word my sister uses.) Love both those words.

It could be the rich foods, constant driving, walking, exploring, climbing and learning we’ve been doing. It could be that she’s just worn out as she goes full-throttle through life. She’s done more with her 30 years than many do in their whole lives. OR… as a mother’s worried nature wonders… she could be coming down with something and we should figure out where the nearest urgent care is so, if need be, we can rush her there!

I’m a problem-solving sort of gal and am always searching for the emergency exit in crowded spaces, or watching for that one trouble maker who could be dangerous. (Unless I’m drinking, and then I’m basically a toddler wandering off and getting into trouble wherever I can find it.) But that’s not my daughter’s nature at all. She’s a serious sort. Driven. Focused. Intense. Her motto could be, “I get shit done.” She’s a force to be reckoned with and although I’m a bit of a force in my own right, I generally cede to her because I know she’ll argue until she gets her way and I’m more amused and amazed by her fierce nature than I am in need to defend my own.

I adore her, yet am so frustrated by her… it’s an incredible conundrum I’ve been trying to figure out for 30 years now. So, back to topic, she’s not feeling wonderful today and although we’re in Southern California, amid beaches, zoos, parks, amazing sights and sounds, I still feel the need to stay in the hotel and fuss over her. She needs a day of rest. We all might be better for it, but this insane California weather is perfect every day. How can these people living here stand it? Sunshine, moderate temperatures, light breezes. Every. Single. Day.

I’ll finish this story to tell you she spiked a fever of what must have been 104 that night, and the next morning, still feeling very very sick, attended the meeting her company had flown her to San Diego to attend. She kicked that meeting’s ass, we drove her to the airport, she flew home, zonked for the night, then went to the doctor in the morning to find she still had 101 fever and an ear infection causing all the problems. Antibiotics have done the trick, and it’s a good thing as she hosted a major gala for Support Dogs, for which she is the current Chairperson, and then attended her company’s Christmas party. (Sounds like it wouldn’t be a big deal, but they rented Busch Stadium for the party, so…”

Still, I think she appreciated a little mothering and I was thrilled for the opportunity to once again play one of the roles in my life that gave me great purpose: caring for and loving my kids. I’d prefer they didn’t have to be sick to allow me to do it, but I’ll take what I can get!



2 thoughts on “Allowed to Mother”

  1. So true. Neither of my kids seem to need me. I guess I did the job I was supposed to do. It was hard to come home. We really loved traveling and we really got the routine down by the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The advantage of raising strong, independent kids is that they can face the struggles of the world and still come out in one piece, just as we want them to be able to do. The disadvantage of raising strong, independent kids is, they don’t need us as much anymore. But on some level, we all need our mothers, whether we show it or not.

    Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful trip, with all the ups and downs three weeks of travel will give you!

    Liked by 1 person

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